January 24, 2008

Generalissimo Suharto is still dying; the people are still not satisfied

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"Peoples do not judge in the same way as courts of law; they do not hand down sentences, they throw thunderbolts; they do not condemn kings, they drop them back into the void; and this justice is worth just as much as that of the courts." Robespierre on trying King Louis XVI (source)
The Suharto swan-song saga continues in Indonesia. The big story on the old fascist's health: he's eating cookies. There are a number of last-ditch efforts to prosecute: the formation of a coalition of civil society organizations under the name KERAS; as well as a proposal for a 24-hour trial.

I may be bitter, but all of this may be too little too late. Why the haste for a speedy trial, a right that was denied thousands of leftist political prisoners, some of whom waited two decades between their arrest in the wake of Sukarno's 1965 coup and their kangaroo court trials?

Further, there seems a bit of a rush to bury Suharto, both literally and metaphorically. It would seem that across the Indonesian bourgeoisie, there are those who simply want to re-appropriate the embezzled state funds and let slide all of the butchery of Suharto's career (the civil war in 1965, the martial law periods of administration in Aceh, West Papua, and East Timor, not to mention the everyday extrajudicial killings, abductions, and so forth). Not to mention those in the U.S. media who conveniently accuse Suharto of being a murderer now that the smoke has cleared, but who provided cover for the man his entire term of office.

It seems unlikely that there will be any verdict on Suharto in a court of law. It will be up to the Indonesian people to decide whether they will actually make a break with the old, or accept a new New Order.

3 comments:

Andrew said...

Not to mention those US corporations (Freeport McMoRan, Bechtel, etc.) making billions from their colonial harvesting of the mineral wealth under Indonesian military control; corporations who would LOVE to blame everything on a scape goat.

General Suharto always did what these corporations needed for access, invaded West Papua 1961, sold the mining license 1967, stage a fake vote 1969, invaded East Timor 1975, used his military to clear the Papuan highlands and other areas for the mines.

No wonder somebody is eager to bury Suharto and the Corporation's part in the colonization of Pacific islands by the Javanese military.

blackstone said...

This guy has been "dying" for two weeks now. Is he deathly ill or not?

Magnus said...

And there he went...